The Citadel Rallies To Hand USC First Loss
South Carolina held a 6-1 advantage entering the sixth inning when The Citadel started making its run. A one-out double from Chris Swauger was followed by Zach Brown's two-out RBI base hit up the middle to cut the deficit to four runs. The Citadel pushed closer in the seventh inning with a big three-run homer from Bryan Altman, his first of the season. Altman knocked a 1-0 pitch from Gamecock reliever Jeff Jeffords over the left field wall to creep within one run. The Bulldogs then grabbed their first lead of the game in the eighth inning with two more runs. Zach Brown led off the inning with a hit by pitch and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Against Gamecock closer Wynn Pelzer, the Bulldogs would tie the game in the next at-bat as second baseman Travis Jones threw wide of first base attempting to get Chance Smith out allowing Brown to score the tying run. Smith would score the eventual game-winning run on Richard Jones' sacrifice fly RBI.
Link Saunders would close out the ninth inning for The Citadel to pick up the save. Copenhaver allowed just one hit and two walks with no runs in his three innings of work to pick up the victory. He is 1-0 on the year. Pelzer took the loss and is 0-1 on the year. He worked 0.2 innings and allowed one run, unearned, on one hit.
:Carolina used the long ball to get ahead early in the game in the second inning with four runs coming off three homers. Sophomore first baseman Justin Smoak got things started with an opposite field homer to left field, his first of the year to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead. That lead would jump to 3-0 after a one-out walk to Andrew Crisp, as sophomore infielder James Darnell continued his hot start with a homer to left field, his fourth of the season and third in as many days. Reese Havens would add a solo homer, his first of the year, to right center to give the Gamecocks a four-run cushion. The Bulldogs would put a run on the scoreboard in the fourth inning as Sonny Meade hit a one-out solo homer to left field off of Gamecock starter Mike Cisco.
South Carolina responded with two runs in the top of the fifth inning though, loading the bases with one out against Smith. Singles from Lonnie Chisenhall and Justin Smoak along with a walk to Andrew Crisp set the stage for Darnell, who walked on four straight balls. Carolina scored its second run on a RBI fielder's choice courtesy of Jon Willard.
Carolina starting pitcher Mike Cisco worked into the seventh inning and was charged with four runs on five hits while striking out five batters. Smoak went 2-for-3 and Havens added two hits to lead the Gamecocks at the plate. The seven-hit total for Carolina was the lowest of the season in a game for the Gamecocks. Altman, Swauger and Matt Reifsnider had two hits apiece to the lead the Bulldogs.
South Carolina returns home for the first time this season with a three-game set against Eastern Michigan beginning on Friday, Feb. 23. First pitch for the home opener is set for 3 pm ET with Saturday and Sunday's games at 1:30 pm ET. Live audio and live gametracker stats will be available at uscsports.com.
Note: In Saturday's game vs. Richmond, senior outfielder Robbie Grinestaff sustained a significant left hamstring injury and will be out at least two weeks. It will be four-six weeks before he is 100 percent recovered.
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